tv [untitled] September 26, 2010 7:00pm-7:30pm PST
patients if their resources being used to the south of them become overburdened. we have also offered mental health services, since this is, as you say.8' b besides the physical devastation, it can be emotionally devastating. we have offered to provide additional mental-health services and translation services, so i think the mutual aid went well last night. mayor newsom: we had a number of representatives from pg&e. i will get to you in a minute because i want to talk -- bring things closer to home in the end, but mark johnson is here. i appreciate you taking the time to get out here. perhaps you can give us an update an overview, and to the extent that i understand we all understand this investigation, what you know and what you can share. >> [inaudible]
i want to extend my condolences and my sympathy to all of those families that were impacted. [inaudible] basically, what we know at this point, and i think many of you have heard from various media, that there was a rush of 830- inch steel gas main transmission line that appears to be the cause of the incident. we are in the process of trying to report service both from electric as well as gas as safely and as quickly as possibly -- as we possibly can.
last night we interrupted service here from a safety standpoint, working very closely in conjunction with various fire officials at the site last night. behind we have people who work through the night last night, and they are continuing to work today. they are performing the survey on both the transition system as well as the distribution system to insure that we can safely restore service to those who have been impacted. we have also been working very closely with red cross with outrage for those families who were impacted by the devastating tragedy that occurred. we're working closely and in conjunction with a red cross to provide assistance. as the mayor has indicated, the
ntsb, the national transportation safety board, i believe that approximately 1:00 today, a team of aid arrived in san francisco. they will have lead responsibility for the investigation and cause analysis of the event. at this point in time, although there has been a lot of speculation about different things that may have precipitated to cause this event, i would caution everyone that it is really premature at this point, and that there will be a thorough investigation. pg&e plans to and will fully cooperate with the ntsb in the investigation process providing all records as well as making available any resources individuals to be interviewed, etc., so we can determine the cause of this particular incident.
mayor newsom: again, it is premature to perhaps discuss a response to the question, but what is your assessment in terms of the investigation? it is really difficult to say. i would expect that this is a process that will probably take several months before it is probably finally concluded, and before we have a real sense of what perhaps the actual route cause was to this particular event. i recognize there is a sense of urgency to try to better understand what caused this event, but again, we are going to work through the process with the ntsb. we are going to fully cooperate with them, and as our president of the utility indicated in some of the interviews that were
conducted earlier today, to the extent that it is determined that we have liability or responsibility here, we plan to be accountable for that if in fact that is what the investigation reveals. >> montgomery street. is that for you? >> yes, this morning, we had a secondary cable failure that impacted a single customer. our secondary cable, and i use that term, operates at 120 volts or 280 votes, depending on what the customer needs. it is kind of like a wall outlet in the building itself. our crews are out there right now. we are pulling the cable to determine what the root cause was and why the secondary cable did in fact failed. we plan to replace all the cabling in the mall as well, and right now, the root cause of that investigation is taking place as the speaker -- we plan
to replace all the cabling in that box as well. mayor newsom: nonetheless, yet again, because we have been through this with you guys -- up the block, downtown, mission street, and lead --ed lee led a task force. important to note, i know you lead that effort in our utility side of this after the last incident on pull --polk street. >> that is correct. i know on the electrical side, we have been working for the last two years since these incidents occurred and caused a number of changes to be made that the genie was cooperative in doing, the latest of which was to take out all the dc lines that were causing the elevator stoppages occur -- a number of changes to be made that pg&e was cooperative in doing. we worked with them to review
protocol on how they inspect transformer boxes that are in the vaults, so that when the oil is compromising those balls that would cause an arc in a logical line -- when the oil is compromising those vaultts. we're able to change the structure and also the way they are inspected, so we have not had a similar incident since that time. gas lines are very different, and we are cognizant of the initial report that we did have a large transition gas line, which we are now in collaboration with the fire department and recommend to you, mayor, that we look at this from a different task force viewpoint. mayor newsom: we will get to that in a second. you are up to clarify that there is no link between what occurred in san bruno and what occurred in san francisco. and that is absolute? >> that is absolute, yes.
completely separate. mayor newsom: these 30-inch lines exist not just in san bruno. they exist in cities like san francisco. correct? >> i'm not familiar where exactly the gas line is, but there are basically three large transmission lines that serve sort of the greater bay area. mayor newsom: and one of those mainlines presumably comes through the city and county of san francisco? >> i believe that is correct. mayor newsom: is there any prospect -- a simple question a lot of folks have asked me -- what happened down there -- could it happen here? is there a cause and effect, anything the connects the systems in a way that creates more vulnerability to other systems in and around the region because of what may or may not have occurred specifically in san bruno? >> on the surface, i would state that i do not believe that will
be the case, but obviously, until we have a better understanding of what the root cause was to the san bruno incident, it is really very difficult to completely rule that out. i would be disingenuous if i said that there was no possibility, not knowing what the actual route cause of the san bruno incident was. mayor newsom: i imagine concurrently, you guys are assessing that as you investigate the root causes in san bruno, you are immediately address unmet concern in other jurisdictions here in san francisco as well. >> that is correct. we are actually looking at all three transmission lines. mayor newsom: ok, and oked -- and what ed lee was alluding to is something that has been formalized, and we are making public -- he has done a very
good job, and i appreciate your cooperation in the work he did after that third incident related to the utility side and electrical side. we believe that was an effective process. we believe that process should be replicated for the gas transmission and distribution, and ed will support chief hayes- white in that effort, who will lead that workgroups to identify those vulnerabilities and collaborate with you. we cannot with respect weight -- i cannot wait. we may have residents that work for the city. we do not know if we lost lives of some of our city employees. i cannot accept a utility failure the same morning. that is a pattern we tried to interrupt a couple of years ago, so we are going to -- i'm not here to publicly flagged u.
i have other opportunities to do the, and i know you are here in good will, and i know you're here to help, but i do want to make the point that we make the point to leverage for work to help us determine so that we can communicate with the public, and we're getting the onslaught of questions ebit. people now concern of what to do if they smelled gas. call 911? call the police department? call the neighborhood knows how to turn the gas off? that is a protocol that has been underscored in some of the early assertions that have come out. we are of the opinion that if you smell gas, you should call line 11 and let us have that anchor information, and we will
direct appropriately. anyone to eliminate further on that? >> just with regards to our analysis, we have always had it been productive working relationship with pg&e, and we hope to continue that. it is only a brief in light of the circumstances and events of last night, that we did look at the city's infrastructure as it is related to utilities, the age of the system, the location of the system, and any liabilities they might be, and also, an appropriate time to review protocols related to gas leaks, how repairs are done, and redoubling our efforts are working as a team when we get on scene, and there's a report of gas. but certainly, we look forward
to working with you, but we are also very interested in this route cause analysis you are referring to an offer any resources that we may have to assist you in the investigation as well as to the federal agencies. did you want to speak about the gas at all? >> this is helpful. >> deputy chief operations for the fire department. one of the things that the mayor was talking about is you should call 911 any time you smell gas in your building. we have four and two engine companies in san francisco and 18 truck companies that are ready to respond to that quickly to mitigate the problem. a lot of times, the smell of gas sometimes does not turn out to be gas, but the connection on the so, the pilot light out, something minor or dreier that needs to be disconnected that we can do immediately to remedy more gas going out into your building. pg&e always response to that,
and we have a good relationship with our emergency units in the field. our units will stay on the scene to make sure we ventilate the area evacuated as needed. the genie comes out and shut down the main will be needed to the building once we know that gas has been shot off, and we will let people back in from there. if you smell gas, you should call 911. >> appreciate that. just want to underscore that the point person for the investigations and collaboration's of cpc's involved, pg&e's involved, and obviously, the ntsb is chief hayes-wide, so i want everyone to know that she has been tasked in that role with again the support of the city administration office because of the framework established on the utility side -- chief hayes- white. let that be known more publicly. ed, you as well, and then we
will get into a broader discussion. you have been doing some really good work, and we have been very involved in new orleans. we have been very involved in post disaster recovery, and we have offered our resources and ourselves to the mayor of san bruno and to city leaders there as well as residents. you have specific protocols that we have long established in terms of being able to support residents in times of need, a regional framework for that as well as 14 city employees that want to contribute any charitable contributions for those that may have lost their homes or lost loved ones. >> thank you. the very first thing we did today was we call the city manager of san bruno and offered our direct assistance, so they have our number, and whenever they need we could probably
deliver faster, so we made that offer and are on record supporting what they need, along with any of the other departments here. i want to thank the of the departments who are also offering their assistance as well, and there are many. in addition to that, the assistance and recovery part -- we have learned through our own experience and certainly through new orleans and then haiti and then chile that san francisco is looked upon as a very generous city. we are and must be and always will be because are expected disaster we are preparing for, but in the practice, we are also offering our highest corporation -- cooperation, so again, we are called upon, and appropriately, we have created our own san francisco gives
back the we have launched, and that we will continue to utilize for the cooperation of groups here today, card being the community press agency responding to disaster, so it is an umbrella group, and i know lisa was here today, and can report specifically on the things that have been done thus far. >> community agencies responding to disasters -- our day-to-day mission is to prepare nonprofits and faith based organizations for disasters. of course, we all worry about the disaster that the san andreas fault with participate
-- precipitate, which would devastate regionally. we also in that same vein prepare for more confined emergencies, such as what happened last night in san bruno. sf card, just like any other agency, whether public sector or non-profit or face based organization, is acting in a capacity as a support organization. we have our sister agency alliance of nonprofits in san mateo county, who reported to be san bruno emergency operations center, and is doing its liaison job for the nonprofits and fate based organizations there. in my capacity as a responder, since we do have this tragic event in san bruno, i responded under the auspices of our very close partners, the american red cross-bay area -- as a disaster
service worker, and responded to the disaster operations center -- emergency operations center. with the leadership there, we toured the incident command post throughout the evening. the evacuation center, and i do want to state in times like these how very gratifying it is that the general population really comes out and response as well. not only faith-based organizations -- we have had superb support from local churches of all faiths and congregations, but individuals were coming to all the sides, the shelter sites, the evacuation center, with cases of water or blankets, foodstuffs. the outpouring was tremendous. there is a huge concern in the
community. we have people that literally drove up from the l.a. area because they could not contact their relatives who were living in that area, so there is a major concern from the individuals. we are always preparing for our most volatile populations. that is our job in cooperation with many of the public sector and non-profit sector partners, but last night, there was a huge mobilization. we are continually acting as liaison totner as it was mentioned, as the eoc continues to have to be staffed, we are offering our services to our partner to make sure that that liaison position between the faith does based organization and nonprofits are staff. mayor newsom: did you want add
anything with red cross? >> thank you. san bruno is part of the bay area red cross, and, of course, the bay area red cross is housed here in san francisco. we had a pretty significant mutual aid response to our neighboring county. we had, specifically from san francisco, over 15 volunteers respond last night. we had over 125 volunteers either on site or in rows -- en route. we are staffing personnel at the various eoc's. we have said seven or eight of our emergency response vehicles to the area, and will begin damage assessment of each individual home to assess the needs of the victims of the fire. we have caseworkers who will start those interviews beginning today, and we are also sending from the six counties our disaster mental health service
specialist to help out in that area. it people are concerned about the well-being of their family or friends, they can register themselves at our safe and well website, or they can call 1-800- red-cross and file their information about their concerned parties there. mayor newsom: appreciate that. you have another site that was set up for city employees. >> yes, so for san francisco employees as well as residents, it is called sf gives back, and that can be found at our city's official website. recovery is the long, hard road. people have lost their homes and probably all their possessions, so this is a long-term effort,
never short term. that is why we set up with the mayor's encouragement something that will be ongoing, that can deal with disasters like this, so we encourage people to use that. clearly, that is an option along with the red cross and the other very well known traditional avenues. sf gives back is set up on our city's official website. mayor newsom: there are a number of calls -- puc has received some calls. david has received a number of calls. anything you want to add? you have a couple of centers that were access for emergency response. i know there have been some environmental questions. >> we have a really great public utilities commission. in addition to the san francisco jail and airport, we have hundreds of employees in the immediate vicinity because we operate the regional water system, so in that capacity, they were able to immediately
respond. in the first hours, that was all in mutual aid since for fire support. our first concern was making sure san bruno have water. they are our wholesale water customer, and there were some problems because one of the water mains was damaged. second, we did bring water trucks into the area to thecal fire. third, all those helicopters making those drops were pouring the water out of san andreas reservoir. that was happening most of the evening and into the wee hours of the warning. today, our efforts are focused on repair and recovery, and we are waiting for more call for that aid from san bruno, but we are an excellent resource for pipeline repair, and we expect to help them out significantly. when they do it to the face of actually starting to repair their infrastructure. thank you. >> it was noted there were no issues down at the jail.
employees down there -- how is everyone doing? >> we had a couple of concerns. we were concerned about possible smoke coming to the intake system, and we got an engineer out there to first of all monitor it and to ensure that we could shut off if necessary. it was not necessary. i do have 45 employees who live in the area of december know, and we personally check on each of them, one from's house was directly across from an area that burned. his house did not burn. we also provide a squad of officers to assist san bruno police last control and at their doc, but fortunately, there jail was almost a mile north of the incident, and the wind was blowing in our direction, so we avoided most everything like that. gavin newsom that is good, and i know all our departments are going through their personnel file. john, you mentioned you had a
number of employees. anything you want to add? >> we did not check with all departments, but we are also having the department of human resources run a list of the addresses. so far, we have a list of about 24 addresses that may or may not be, so we will be reaching out to every one of those individuals as well as those the province. you may not think you have an employee who lives in san bruno, but he made. we have departments assigned here, so you will be getting a call from us. mayor newsom: animal welfare and patrol? you guys were sent out, and you have been helpful. thank you. if you could just let us know a little bit about what you have done. >> our apartment was on standby as early as 8:00 last night. we reached out to our counterparts in san mateo county, the peninsula humane society, and offered our assistance. this morning around 10:00, we got a request for help, and we sent two units with animal
control officers to canvass the area in san bruno 4 lose rolling heads and/or assist in any way that we could. our officers are still in the field dealing with that right now. mayor newsom: anything from a medical examiner perspective? you avail yourself to your colleagues down there. >> [inaudible] resources that we could put on standby in case there were more fatalities than the san mateo coroner's office could handle. we put one investigator and one van on standby. we have been in contact with the san mateo county coroner's office. this time, they have not need the assistance from us, but we remain on standby as they continue to search the neighborhood's four additional fatalities. mayor newsom: ok, the key -- vicki?
do you want to follow-up with anything that was on our list to communicate that we have not? >> i think you hit everything. you did a good job. mayor newsom: i want to now open up to others that have questions or thoughts or anything they want to share. i want to be sensitive to mark and 10 -- ken. i appreciate you both being here and avail yourself. to the extent you have questions for them that are for. under the circumstances, i think they would indulge us with some response, but again, sensitive to your time. anyone? other departments? ok. steve, anything more you want to add or underscore? >> no, sir, just that ed lee and
chief white may contact you. once again, without hesitation, provide them any resources and help and information they need immediately. mayor newsom: all of you again, thank you. i think a lot of the work you have done in private is made public in the context of the mutual aid and the exercises, both tabletop and field exercises. it said ways to tomorrow, the ninth anniversary of 9/11, and the commemoration and renewed effort that we all engage in as a region with our respective partners, public and private carters, faith based leaders, and the like to be prepared to be vigilant and more important than anything to communicate,